Eight Micros
Kim Chinquee

(56 words)

I landed in a church lot, where a bunch of people sat around, celebrating the institute of flying. I sat with them. We watched the air. My Uncle Wally soared like Superman. He was my favorite uncle. He was fast, but in real life he was kind and gentle. He came so close to hitting objects.

* * *

They’d Get Uniforms
(51 words)

The instructor did a roll call. Yelling in a cadence. They were up and down. Inward, upward, round. One wore pigtails and a low-cut, one turtlenecked, and make-upped. They wore jewelry and barrettes. They were short and long, and fat ones didn’t belong there. Their heads bobbed. One was booted already.

* * *

(103 words)

A man doctored me up, cutting open my pant leg, making up an ugly wound with clay and food color. He put a tag on me, tying it to my boot, dumped me in the bushes. Now I was an airman and this was my role. Another man came and read my tag, picked me up and put me on his shoulders. He was a reservist. I could feel his boot hit the ground, like a horse. Someone yelled and the man got down and dumped me. He fell on me. Said we had to stay there. I felt like a kid again.

* * *

(54 words)

I felt good there, romping around in my halter top, doing Jell-O shots. We played cards and I thought the queen of hearts meant something. This guy played Billy Idol. I danced around like happy. I was sixteen and I didn’t care. He was just, a guy. I grabbed him, hanging onto his belt-loop.

* * *

This One
(91 words)

He said to boil an egg. He was at the gym, and she had finished running. First she boiled water, but when she dropped the egg in, the shell cracked and the white stuff started bubbling. So she started over with a new egg, this time warming both together. After a couple minutes, she checked the egg, cutting it, but it wasn’t done yet. So she tried another, leaving it while she took a shower.

Naked, she threw away the eggs she’d spoiled, and peeled the shell off this hopeful one.

* * *

(67 words)

I was at a stoplight. I wasn’t in a hurry. I was noticing the smell of my shampoo, and thought of how it lingered. My car was like an envelope, always sending me.

I was going to the library. I wanted to find something that might change me. I would find interesting books. But I would never read them. It was like expecting honey from a tree.

* * *

The Girl
(100 words )

Her baby cried, so she lifted him and bounced him. Her hip was bruised. Her husband had the car, even held the title. He was at practice, teaching girls to hit the puck. Later, he would cry and say Is that OK? about the girl, and he would ask her to pretend that she was younger, polishing her nails while she let him do things to her. She pictured the baby asleep, the ham in the freezer. The girl. He would say thank you. He would say thank you, thank you, thank you, collapsing into her arms like a toddler.

* * *

Bar Scene
(45 words)

He offered me cashews. The night before, I’d seen him performing, spreading his fingers on the keyboard. I looked at the Band-Aid glowing from his elbow. I asked him what he wanted.

“Sex,” he said.

“I’m not a prostitute,” I said.

He said, “Oh?”

* * *

“Cape,” “Simulation,” “This One,” and “Books” first appeared in NOON. “They’d Get Uniforms” and “Card” first appeared in elimae. “The Girl” first appeared in Guernica. “Bar Scene” first appeared in Salome.

I appreciate microfiction for its brevity.

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